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Religious Liberty Law Firm Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Once Again Rule in Favor of Little Sisters of the Poor

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May 6, 2020

News Release
For Immediate Release: 5.6.20
Contact: Lacey McNiel, media@firstliberty.org
Direct: 972-941-4453 

Religious Liberty Law Firm Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Once Again Rule in Favor of Little Sisters of the Poor
First Liberty Institute brief urges Court to preserve religious exemption from Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate

Washington, DC—The Supreme Court of the United States today heard oral argument in Little Sisters of the Poor. v. Pennsylvania, et al., one of the high profile religious liberty cases currently before the Court.  In March, First Liberty Institute filed a friend-of-the-court brief in urging the Justices to reverse a lower court ruling prohibiting the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from exempting certain religious objectors from the Affordable Care Act’s Contraceptive Mandate.

“Even as the Little Sisters of the Poor are on the frontlines fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in health care facilities and nursing homes, their freedom to operate according to their beliefs is threatened,” said Mike Berry, General Counsel for First Liberty Institute.  “The time has come for the Supreme Court to finally put an end to government efforts to force the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious objectors to violate their faith.  The Justices should once again show respect for the religious liberty of all religious entities and allow them to serve their communities without government intrusion.”

In 2017, after multiple legal challenges to the Contraceptive Mandate, the Trump Administration adopted new regulations that expanded protections for religious objectors to the Mandate.  But several states, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, sued the Trump Administration, claiming that the federal government could not consider the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) in developing its regulations. The states complained that they did not want to pay for the contraception coverage at issue, even though they maintained that the contraception coverage is vitally important to the states’ interests.  Without a religious exemption, the Mandate would require the Little Sisters of the Poor—a religious order of nuns—to facilitate contraceptive insurance coverage even though their sincerely held religious beliefs forbid them from doing so.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled against religious objectors, concluding that the Administration cannot consider RFRA to develop a broad religious exemption from the Contraception Mandate, jeopardizing the hard-won exemptions granted to the nuns and others.

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 About First Liberty Institute

First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at media@firstliberty.org or by calling 972-941-4453.

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